Pies past

I wrote recently in my column about Inland Valley mom-and-pop restaurants where you can reliably get a slice of pie: Roady’s in San Dimas, the Village Grille in Claremont and, most notably, Flo’s Cafe in Chino, where two employees work full-time baking pies, cobblers and other goods for the two Flo’s locations.

Co-owner Donna Hughes, who with her husband Paul bought Flo’s from founder Flora Slack in 1976, told me post-publication that the bake shop was his idea: “My husband is a big sweet eater. He wanted to have desserts put in, so we did.”

What of pie places past? Charles Bentley recalls a few: Chavens in Montclair, which was near the old Holiday Roller Rink east of Montclair Plaza, and the Pie Place in Ontario, on Mountain Avenue in the building now occupied by Home Kitchen.

Then there was Wag’s on Ontario’s Euclid Avenue and the Hollander Cafeteria at Montclair Plaza, Bentley says. I can add Katie McGuire Pies at Base Line and Archibald in Rancho Cucamonga, now occupied by Dairy Queen.

Any memories of pies past, readers?

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  • Joanne Boyajian

    Hi David, yes, there was also Mr. Big Grinders at 1021 W. Holt Blvd., Ontario, in the late 1950s. . . I remember watching the pie man through a big glass window. We ate at picnic tables with sawdust on the floor — very exciting to an 8-year-old.

  • JMac

    Well I’m a tad late with this, but there was a place called O’Reilly’s Buffetburger that made their own pies. I believe it was on Holt near Central.

    [Better late than never, JMac! — DA]

  • Charles Bentley

    Yes, O’Reilly’s did offer pies, although I didn’t know that they were made on site. It was located on Holt, but east of Mountain Avenue in what is now a paint store (the Paint Bucket?). O’Reilly’s had an assortment of entrees, but I do remember their hamburgers. I believe they also had a sundae bar where you could put on whatever toppings you wished. That’s probably why I don’t have as good a memory of the pies they offered!

  • Shirley Wofford

    I did this the day your column came out regarding the item from Bill Ruh on things that aren’t here anymore. It doesn’t look to me like it ever got sent by me — I apologize if this is a repeat.

    I kind of got excited when the Stuft Shirt was mentioned and not followed by the Arbor. The Arbor followed the Stuft Shirt at the location at Foothill and Euclid. It was “hands-down” the best restaurant in this area, and there will never be another like it. It was a terribly sad day for me and many patrons when it had to close. It was owned and operated by Chef Walter Rippe. His daughter was also a chef there. My husband and I discovered the Arbor in the mid-’70s and we ate there every Friday night. I always had the Lobster Bake which consisted of:

    Salad with Gorgonzola dressing;
    half a baked CA lobster tail;
    a stuffed, baked clam;
    a piece of fried chicken;
    stuffed baked potato;
    English Trifle for dessert. The price was $6.50.

    The Thursday night special was porterhouse for two for $9.95.

    They had a large assortment of continental dishes.

    Every dinner at the Arbor was preceded by an appetizer of fried eggplant.

    The ambience was top rate and the waiters and waitresses all got to know us.

    Walter Rippe also owned Uncle Ned’s, a bar and grill in Upland. There was a live band and great T-bone steaks.

    Both restaurants closed around the mid-’80s, much to the detriment of this area.

    David, my City of Montclair e-mail address is now defunct. I just retired.

    [Congratulations, Shirley. Retirement will give you more time to spend on my blog! And ride Metrolink, as I know you love to do. — DA]

  • April Patterson

    We went to O’Reilly’s for the split pea soup. I don’t remember ever getting anything else there. The oyster crackers were my favorite… of course I think I was like THREE years old. LOL

    The Hollander Cafeteria had the best Boston Cream Pie.

  • Renee Shoopman

    The T Bird Grinders on Central and San Bernardino Rd. in Montclair. Was the best. So sad. Long gone.

  • Justin

    I remember the House of Pies on Mountain Ave. in Ontario. The first time I had chocolate pie with legitimate filling — not just pudding. A real shame.

  • Bob Glass

    T-Bird Drive-in and T-Bird Grinders, both a fond memory. One was on Central 40 yards north of San Bernardino Road. The other was on San Bernardino just west of Flying “A” Service Station on the south side of the street.

    Fred Barbarossa Sr. owned and operated both of them. I attended school with Fred junior. This was 1957 thru 1961.

  • Crystal Pickering

    I used to go the Hollander Caf in Montclair with my grandparents and get their nut pie. I would love to have that recipe. My grandfather was heartbroken when the Hollander closed.

  • Betty Dies

    I don’t remember any Pie places much, in Pomona or Ontario, but “The House of Pies” sounds familiar.

    We moved to Ontario, CA. about 1947. I was 4 yrs old then but I grew up in Ontario and all my siblings, and our kids, went to CHS. My sister and I have frequent talks on things we remember while growing up there, with Ontario, Pomona and Upland being our old “stomping grounds” as teens.

    You seem to be much younger but I believe you, with your knowledge of the area, would be able to find the answers if anyone could. The Daily Report was our family’s newspaper and many years later, as a young woman, I had a few articles to the Editor, published in it.

    My question to you is maybe a hard one but since I do not live in the area anymore, maybe you can find the answer through the Library or through contacts for me. I would really appreciate it if you could give me the answer. I have searched all over the internet, your blog and others, without any success. My sister and I used to go to the Rainbow Gardens in Pomona to dance on weekends. I would like to know exactly where it was located. I think it was located on one of the streets just below Holt Blvd. but am not sure.

    Also, there was a really popular and fancy Ballroom “Nightclub” or dance place with a big ball on the ceiling in the middle of the dance floor, that was located on Holt Blvd., between Pomona and Montclair. This place had Ballroom dancing and maybe swing music. I believe people went there before my generation started going to The Rainbow Gardens.

    I know this is long but I really would appreciate any info you can give me.

    [Betty, nice to hear from you. Before I could get to this, indefatigable reader Bob House stepped in. See next comment. — DA]

  • Bob House

    Rainbow Gardens was at 150 E. Monterey, Pomona — just east of the Pomona YMCA building — photo/post card of interior here: http://content.ci.pomona.ca.us/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/Frasher&CISOPTR=4788&CISOBOX=1&REC=3

    Excellent information about Rainbow Gardens (and much more) in the outstanding book on the history of the citrus industry in the San Gabriel Valley, A World of Its Own, by Matt Garcia.

    [See? One of your questions has already been answered, Betty. I don’t know the answer to your other one, but perhaps someone will chime in. — DA]

  • Bob House

    I recall the “other” ballroom to which Betty refers — it was on the north side of Holt, east of (what was) the Sears shopping center at the foot of Indian Hill. I drove by the building frequently in the 60s. But my (pre-research) recollection was that it was the Rainbow Gardens. However, I can find no evidence that the RG moved to this location at some point.

    [Betty, you might contact the history rooms of the Ontario or Pomona libraries for some research help on this, unless a reader who knows the answer sees this and enlightens us. — DA]